Jennings, Root give England a strong start

Alastair Cook is clean-bowled by R Ashwin on the first day of the first Test on Wednesday. Reuters

Under-fire opener Keaton Jennings and skipper Joe Root kept the Indian bowlers at bay as England made a strong start in the opening Test here on Wednesday.

Choosing to bat first on what appeared to be a good batting wicket at Edgbaston, England lost opener Alastair Cook to a peach from off-spinner R Ashwin in the ninth over but Root and Jennings then mixed caution with aggression as the hosts reached 83/1 at lunch on day one.

India, who chose to start with just one spinner in Ashwin despite talks surrounding the inclusion of chinaman Kuldeep Yadav in the build-up, made a fine beginning with Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma bowling a probing line.

Both pacers tested Cook and Jennings with a line just outside the off-stump and both the left-handed batsmen initially looked circumspect. Ishant induced a thick edge off Jennings in the sixth over but Ajinkya Rahane, diving to his right from fourth slip, grassed the chance to give the youngster a lifeline.

With their fine efforts not yielding any early breakthroughs, skipper Virat Kohli introduced Ashwin into the attack and the ace offie instantly made an impact. Giving the ball a fine loop and inducing both the openers onto the front foot repeatedly, he outfoxed Cook with a superb ball. The delivery pitched on the middle stump and just turned enough to beat Cook's defence before crashing onto his off-stump.

India got the opening they deserved but after that, a mix of poor bowling and fine batting saw the hosts take lunch with the upper hand. Umesh largely was the culprit as he gave away a boundary ball almost every over to ease the pressure applied by Mohammed Shami at the other end.

Shami, moving the ball both ways at high speed, often got the ball to fly past the edges of Jennings but was unlucky not to have a strike next to his name. Root, whom India have often found as a hard customer to tackle, oozed class from the time he stepped in, driving and cutting with elan.

Kohli tried a couple of overs from Hardik Pandya towards the closing stages of the session but Jennings and Root comfortably saw him off.

Brief scores (at lunch): England: 83/1 in 28 overs (Keaton Jennings 38 batting, Joe Root 31 batting) vs India.

 

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Jennings, Root give England a strong start

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